Garden Loosestrife

Lysimachia vulgaris

Garden Loosestrife

Family: Primulaceae

Other Common Names: yellow loosestrife
Weed class: B
Year Listed: 1991
Native to: Europe, Asia and Northern Africa
Is this Weed Toxic?:

not known to be


Legal listings:

WA Quarantine list, WAC 16-750

Why Is It a Noxious Weed?

It is invasive perennial that can form dense stands of growth in Washington's wetlands. Its behavior is similar to another noxious weed, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), that is appears it can outcompete.

How would I identify it?

General Description

It is an upright, rhizomatous perennial that can grow to a height of 3 feet or more, forming dense stands. Stems and leaves are soft and hairy. Flower clusters bloom in the summer.

Flower Description

Flowers are yellow, primrose-like and occur in a cluster at the top of the plant and in the upper leaf axils (the upper angle from where the leaves and stem connect). Each flower has 5 petals and sepals with reddish-brown margins.

Leaf description

Leaves are opposite or whorled, lance-shaped, 3.1 to 4.7 inches (8-12 cm) long, dotted with black or orange glands and softly hairy.

Stem description

Stems are upright and hairy.

Fruit Seed Description

Seeds in capsules that open by valves.

May Be Confused With

Garden loosestrife has a cousin, (Lysimachia punctata) that is also called garden or yellow loosestrife, which looks very similar. Lysimachia vulgaris, garden loosestrife, is more likely to be found in wetland areas and has flowers that cluster at the top of the plant.

Where does it grow?

Garden loosestrife occurs in moist habitats such as fens, wet woods, lake shores, wetlands and streambanks. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of garden loosestrife in Washington.

How Does it Reproduce?

Garden loosestrife spreads by seeds and rhizomes.

How Do I Control It?

General Control Strategy

Control of this species is complicated because the species is a rhizomatous perennial, and it inhabits environmentally sensitive wetland sites.

Mechanical Control

Small populations may be covered with black plastic or used as a suppression tool. Other alternatives have not been studied. Since the species has extensive rhizomes, hand pulling or digging would be limited to very small infestations.

Herbicide Control

Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.

For More Information

See our postcard for early detection information about garden loosestrife.

See our Written Findings for more information about garden loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris).

Thurston County NWCB Fact Sheet on garden loosestrife

Stevens County NWCB Fact Sheet on garden loosestrife

Whatcom County NWCB Fact Sheet on garden loosestrife

King County NWCB Fact Sheet on garden loosestrife

Control Options for garden loosestrife from Whatcom County

Control Options for garden loosestrife from King County

Additional Photos